Between the years 2009 and 2016, the number of injuries from motorcycle accidents in America jumped from 82,000 to 88,000 per year. Unfortunately, thousands of people who sustained motorcycle injuries did not survive.
When you’ve been unfortunate enough to suffer a motorcycle injury, the first thing you need to do is get medical attention as quickly as possible. Even if the injury isn’t apparent or you don’t feel any significant pain, it’s still important to see a doctor.
Once you’ve been treated, you may want to file a lawsuit, so you recover compensation for the damages you experienced as a result of the accident. That process can be long and confusing.
That’s precisely the reason we have prepared this friendly guide to inform you all you need to know about motorcycle accident injuries, including how you can go about collecting the damages the liable party owes you. Read on to learn more.
1. Start by Determining the Motorcycle Injuries You Sustained
According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are five times more likely to suffer injuries than occupants of passenger vehicles. That’s because motorbike riders do not have the protection that an enclosed vehicle provides.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans involved in motorcycle accidents suffer severe personal injuries, some of which result in permanent disability. Some of the most common injuries in motorcycle accidents include facial fractures, facial disfigurement, broken bones, and road rash. Motorcycle accident worst injuries include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis.
As mentioned earlier, your first step should always be to see a physician immediately following a crash, no matter how minor the accident seems.
2. Find Legal Representation Promptly
Now that you’ve been appropriately treated by your doctor, it’s time to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer. A seasoned attorney should be able to tell you whether you have a legal case or not. They’ll also advise you on how you need to go about the case, so you give yourself the best chance of winning fair compensation.
Always look for an attorney who’s compassionate, experienced, effective, and committed to helping you win your entitled compensation. Verify whether they have a proven track record of winning cases similar to yours.
3. Don’t Withhold Any Information from Your Attorney
As soon as you’ve hired a lawyer you’re comfortable working with, you need to tell them as much about the accident as possible. That information is essential in helping them determine who was responsible for the accident.
Generally, your attorney will ask you some of the following questions to get a clear picture of what happened:
- While riding, were you being reasonably careful?
- Were there eyewitnesses who can testify in court?
- Did traffic police arrive at the scene and file a report?
- Are there ways the accident would have been avoided?
- How clear was the weather?
- Did the accident happen during the day or at night?
4. Determine Which Party To Sue
Once your attorney is convinced that you have a case, they’ll help you know which party you should sue. Based on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the liable parties could be:
- Other road users – If another rider or a car driver caused the accident, then they’re the most obvious party to sue.
- Manufacturers – Where the accident was the result of faulty equipment on your motorcycle, you can sue the manufacturer of the bike or the manufacturer of that particular piece of equipment.
- The motorbike dealership – Product liability allows people to sue dealers when a fault in a motorbike causes an accident.
- The government – In case your accident was caused by the condition of the road, you may be able to sue the government authority that should maintain the road.
5. Determine Then Damages from the Motorcycle Accident
Your lawyer will need to assess the amount of damage that resulted from the accident so they can estimate the potential value of your case. In assessing damages, your attorney may ask:
- How severe were your injuries?
- How much time from work did you miss?
- How much were your medical expenses?
- Are you fully recovered, or are you still being treated for the injuries?
- Can you still continue working in your current job?
- To what extent was your personal property damaged?
- Did you experience significant physical and mental suffering?
6. Know Your State’s Motorcycle Laws
Before heading to court, familiarize yourself with the motorcycle laws in your state. If it’s determined that you didn’t adhere to these laws, it could significantly affect your case.
Different states have different laws concerning motorcyclists. However, most states require that everyone riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. A significant percentage of serious motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities involve riders without helmets.
Some states also require that riders have eye protection such as eyeglasses and goggles. Others forbid motorcyclists from overtaking vehicles in the same lane or sharing a lane with trucks.
Keep in mind what you do following the accident can significantly decrease the amount you’re entitled to. For instance, if you deliberately do something to magnify your injuries or impair recovery, the court will limit your compensation accordingly.
7. Be Mindful of Time Limits
Motorcycle lawsuits have a time limit, and you need to stick to them if you plan on filing one. The earlier you take action, the better. Every state has its statute of limitation that restricts the amount of time you have following the accident to file a case.
Some states allow a maximum of one year from the time the injury happened to file a lawsuit. In other states, the time limit is longer. The thing to keep in mind is that once the time limit has elapsed, you can no longer file a case.
Where the injured party was a minor, they have till their 18th birthday in addition to the statutory time limit to file their case.
Take the Right Action After a Motorcycle Accident
Motor vehicle accidents are often more dangerous than car accidents. Unfortunately, they’re also more complex to resolve. By following the right procedure, however, you can get proper medical treatment for any motorcycle injuries sustained and go on to receive your rightful financial compensation.
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